Age of Empires Series Wiki

Highland is a random map found in Age of Empires, Age of Empires II, and Age of Mythology: The Titans.

Age of Empires[]

Mini map, 4-player match

Highland is one of just two landlocked maps in Age of Empires, the other being Hill Country, which was later introduced in Rise of Rome.

What makes this map different from Hill Country is Hill Country is certainly a landlocked map while Highland may or may not contain river crossings. It is technically like Hill Country with a river. If Highland did not contain a river, it would be almost exactly like Hill Country. Any other player with fewer choke points should rush instead, similarly to Arabia.

The rivers that occasionally appear on Highland can sometimes be connected to fairly large lakes and seas. Computer players will never build Docks, however.

Age of Empires II[]

Highland map with four players

Far from the ocean and heavily forested but with plenty of rivers and open space for maneuvers.
—Map description


Highland features a cliffed, highly forested land, with one or more rivers traversing the region dividing players or teams. While the map usually features multiple rivers when many players have joined a game, it's not unheard to have 4-player games, but a single river.

Either way, fish live in the rivers (the species present are Salmon). Also, these same rivers feature multiple shallows, from where land units may access the other players' parts of the map. Occasionally, two portions of the map, normally divided by rivers, may be slightly connected by land.

Start-up food resources are standard (8 Sheep or 6 Cows, 6 Berry Bushes; huntables: 2 aggressive and 3-4 passives) and so are the stone and gold mines. Additionally to the initial herdables, players may also find some others scattered around the map, usually in pairs. Wild beasts are present in low numbers and scattered on the map. Relics present are standard.

It has the in-game map tag "Mixed".

Viable tactics[]

While a Turtle strategy focusing on defending the shallows may seem as a good idea, as the rivers serve as a natural barrier for the land troops, it is usually not recommended to wall these, as players may pragmatically choose to build Docks and embark armies with Transport Ships instead. However, placing buildings near the shore just in order to get sight of the coastline works fine to notice an early landing. To defend the shallows from incoming land troops, it is usually better to just place towers or a Castle near it, and patrol those areas frequently.

Rushing tactics work fine on this map, but most of the time, those may require as mentioned previously, to create Transport Ships, and start the attack from areas the opponent doesn't have enough vigilance.

Turtling tactics can also prove to be useful, thanks to the forests there, but in this case the player must think the defense in concentric circles, protecting the inland by connecting the forests with walls and the riverlands with an army, Castles and towers trying not to leave any blind spots near the shores, especially at the shallows. Following a turtle with an economic boom is very viable and it will require the use of Fishing Ships for better results.

Despite the fact the map is mostly land, using the navy has surprisingly good results in both defense and offense.

Usually in the middle to late game the shallows become hot spots for battles, so players that have access to units that deal splash damage, a special ability like ranged melee damage or trample damage (units like Onagers, War and Battle Elephants, Cataphracts, Demolition Ships etc.) should use them largely to get an advantage as the units there tend to clutter.

Civilizations that have advantages in Highland:

Age of Mythology: The Titans[]

Highland icon in the random map menu, showing a map with four players

Grassy hills separated by rivers with defensive narrow crossings.
—Map description

In Age of Mythology, Highland has a similar layout to the Erebus random map, but with more abundant resources on grass terrain. Instead of lava, players are separated by pools of water that may contain fish. Players must maintain control of these ponds to keep enemies from entering their territory and to have a constant supply of food. This can be accomplished by either walling off the narrow passages between ponds and/or building a powerful navy to fend off enemy troops. Building defensive structures will also play an important part on this map as their arrows will do heavy damage to enemy ships as well as any other unit. If there are more than two players present, the central pond becomes larger and it may support a small island at its center with additional resources.

Major gods that have the upper hand on this map will include those who benefit from the abundance of animals such as Set and Odin, as well as defensive Gods such as Hades, Isis, and Shennong. Gaia players can use the Gaia Forest god power to seal off the passes with a near impenetrable wall of trees, forcing enemies to either take a longer route around or send their worker units dangerously close to enemy territory in order to cut it down.


As a Norse map, Cows are the herdable found throughout the map. There are also Deer, Crowned Cranes, and Aurochs for worker units to hunt, but they must careful not to cross paths with Bears. Very rarely, Water Buffalos might also be included.

In cases where fish are present, these are Salmon. Forests included are composed of oaks and pines.

Similar maps[]


  • This is the second non-African map with Crowned Cranes, the other two being Marsh and Old Atlantis.


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